Thoughts on the Business of Being an Artist

10431259_1505788976339889_9070733379442101553_oSince it can be a strange and blurry line, if we say that I became a professional artist when I graduated with my Master of Fine Arts in 2007 that means I have been actively creating, showing, selling, and promoting my work for the last eight years (it’s been much longer than that, truth be told). I think I have learned a few things, but I have definitely grown up since 2007. But in this reflective mode,  I have to pinpoint becoming more professional starting in 2011. Since then I’ve experimented with different types of work to find out what might sell better, figured out different price points, different ways of promotion, so on and so forth. I’ve had good experiences with galleries and have plenty of bad experiences with them as well. The good experiences aren’t even about sales as much as the treatment these galleries give their artists, the artist’s work, promotion of the work, and especially communication. The bad…well let’s just leave it at that.

Since October 2014 Lauren and I have now teamed up with Michele and opened our own Studio Gallery, which has introduced a whole new level of professionalism. We wanted to make sure that we approached the exhibitions with everything we learned from dealing with galleries and curators – good and bad. We want to make it easy not only for them but for us as well. We had both previously directed different gallery and project spaces and it’s a full time job, on top of being artists ourselves which is certainly more than a full time job. Nearly ten months later we are figuring out the best way to run Sidetracked Studio so that we can still be extremely proactive artists while also giving our guest artists the attention they deserve. 

image by Chris Bradley Photography

image by Chris Bradley Photography

Sidetracked Studio’s anniversary is on the horizon and we have had an amazing time so far, but it has not been an easy road. Besides dealing with several very impactful and at times overwhelming personal events, we also had to figure out how to shift from doing everything ourselves to now working together with Michele, as well as running a business. We have an incredible amount of work still ahead of us, but we’ve been getting better at communication, finance, promotion, handling, and so many other things. We still have a way to go with time management, and making sure we keep ourselves as top priority. This means more time to create, less distractions, and better focus. We may not have all the answers, but we certainly have the motivation to search for them.

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Business of Being an Artist

  1. It’s a great post Rory. Very excited for yours and Lauren’s artistic journey. I understand the managing aspect of multiple projects. The gallery can easily take over the studio work at times. Sometimes without realizing it. For me, not seeing it as “one or the other” but “both” as a complete art practice has helped me manage my gallery for now over 10 years without regrets. If you love both as one full art practice, it can be done! You said it right, we all learn on the process as we walk ahead. Thanks for this post. It is a good reminded to all of us who follow a similar path. You two are very much loved and respected! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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